Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

06 Jul 2002, 17:52 p.m.

I'm reading The Master and Margarita, which is quite fun,…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I'm reading The Master and Margarita, which is quite fun, and which mentions the Solovki Islands, which instantly endeared it to me. However, one incident in the story moves me to both remember an episode in the Mahabharata and to issue you, my faithful reader, a grave warning.

In the Mahabharata, Ghatotkacha and his buddies stage a wedding kidnapping/sabtoage. They set up a diversion in the bazaar: a clothing exchange! "New clothes for old," they shouted in the streets. "New clothes for old!" And the people thought, "What a great deal!" and exchanged their clothes. But, on the wedding day, oh no! Their clothes fly off into the sky, because the magicians have spirited them away.

From Bulgakov: A magician doing a show offers women the chance to exchange their old dresses for stylish new ones. Many women take the offer, after initial skepticism, and turn out looking fabulous. Until, that is, they leave the theater and their fashionable new dresses start disappearing.

Moral of two stories: Don't take a nomad's offer to exchange your old clothes for new ones. Stay with brick-and-mortar shops for that.